Before the 1990s, there were many child performers in India's circus companies. They joined the circus as trainees and received a salary for their performance. After their activity was problematized as child labor and made illegal, they progressively disappeared from circus companies. Drawing from ethnographic materials, this article reflects on the memories of former circus children who have now become adults. The author argues that taking the interlocutors’ memories as a point of departure for the study of childhood helps circumvent some moral and methodological issues with this category. Childhood memories illuminate an individual's assessment of their own experience, regardless of whether it conforms to widespread normative expectations about childhood; it can also suggest biographical periodizations that are more relevant to a person's life than prevalent age categories. The essay ends with a caveat about the need for a reflexive approach to the context in which childhood memories are shared.

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